More Dynasty Warriors… But Is That A Good Thing?
The serpent king Orochi is back and there is only one thing that can stop him: a massive crossover battle fest!
Warriors Orochi 3 is the latest game in the Dynasty Warriors franchise. Once again, it calls together characters from both Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors to confront a force much bigger than themselves. This time around, characters from other Tecmo Koei games join the party as well to bulk up the roster to a staggering 132 characters! However, many of you may remember that Warriors Orochi 2 was released to fairly poor reviews back in the days of the PlayStation 2. Does Warriors Orochi 3 do enough to regain its honor?
The story of Warriors Orochi 3 is par for the course for a crossover fanfiction. The many Warriors characters are fighting a losing battle against a giant eight-headed hydra. Only three characters remain alive, and just when it seems like all is lost, a Mary Sue named Kaguya appears to help you escape. Kaguya has the power to travel through time, and she asks you to use this power to save all the Warriors that fell in battle before you. Before you know it, you are off on a time-traveling adventure that will even take you to other dimensions.
The story is somewhat okay. Although the Dynasty Warriors series is based on the classic Romance of the Three Kingdoms books, it’s never actually been known for its amazing storytelling. Warriors Orochi 3’s story is filled with contrived deus ex machina moments and poorly written plot hooks just to get the massive roster of playable characters together. It’s amusing, but only in a cheesy 80s crossover cartoon way. More often than not, you’ll be looking past the plot to have fun with the gameplay.
Luckily, the gameplay is a lot of fun and the massive roster of characters is a blast to fool around with. Not only do all of the characters from past Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors, and Warriors Orochi games come back, but characters from other Tecmo Koei properties join as well. This includes well-known faces such as Ryu Hayabusa from Ninja Gaiden and Ayane from Dead or Alive, but also includes more obscure guest combatants such as Achilles from Warriors: Legends of Try, Joan of Arc from Bladestorm: The Hundred Years’ War, and Nemea from Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll. They all have moves taken directly from the games they came from, and yes, this means that Hayabusa is practically a murdering machine on the battlefield. These characters all appear in stages that mimic the games they come from, making it an absolute blast to unlock them.
As before, characters are split into different types. Power characters focus on raw damage, Speed characters focus on extremely quick and safe attacks, and Technique characters focus on stringing together interesting combos. Joining them is a new “Wonder” character type, which focuses on strange magic-based attacks. Kaguya, the new time-traveling character, is a Wonder type.
You’ll pick a team of three characters to take onto the battlefield for each mission. Missions play out exactly like missions in previous Warriors games. You’ll chop your way through wave after wave of weak enemy peons by simply mashing on the attack button. You can put together interesting combos by using your special attack button, and unleash a powerful Musou special attack whenever your Musou gauge fills. You can also use ranged attacks if you’d like, though you almost never will. You can switch your characters as you are attacking, and managing your character’s life bars in this way is the key to survival. Your most powerful attack is called the True Union attack, which brings all three characters together at once to perform a devastating special move.
Mission objectives never change much. It’s always the same pattern of kill enemies, collect power-ups, face a boss, lather, rinse, repeat. Sure, you’ll face off against different enemies and different bosses in each mission, but the gameplay inevitably gets tedious. Luckily, this is alleviated by the steady string of new characters you get to play as and the numerous RPG-style upgrades you can allocate to each one. However, you eventually get diminishing returns as the game goes on. Upgrades become fewer and farther between, and you end up completely abandoning your older characters for newer, more powerful ones. Completionists will have a field day as they attempt to outfit the perfect 132-character army, but everyone else will get bored long before then.
Luckily, the game isn’t all button mashing. The town system from Dynasty Warriors 7 returns, making the time between battles feel more like an RPG. Here you can purchase items from shops, increase your bonds by talking with characters, and even change the direction of the story by experiencing different events. Since your character total grows as you progress through the game, you’ll find yourself spending a lot of time in town fusing weapons for each one. These segments skillfully break up the otherwise repetitive gameplay, allowing you to play the game just a little bit longer.
As fun as the gameplay is, I have to say that Warriors Orochi 3 is truly lacking in the graphical department. Many character models and stages are re-used from previous Warriors games—i.e. they are a generation behind. This makes character models seem bland and flat, and textures seem fuzzy and grainy. Environments have sparse backgrounds that sometimes make you feel as if you are fighting in the middle of a void, and your surroundings feel almost painted on most of the time. The game engine is unfortunately showing its age at this point. Normally, graphics don’t hamper my enjoyment of a game, but in this case, the game is just downright ugly.
Perhaps the coolest new feature in Warriors Orochi 3 is the new Musou Battlefield option. Essentially, this allows you to create your own battlefields and stages, and then upload them to the Internet for other players to try out. You gain new customization options as you progress through the game, and when you unlock enough you actually have a decent degree of editing control. You can change the officers in each level, what they say, the music, and more. You can even add your own comments, LittleBigPlanet style. However, this mode isn’t enough to give the game extra replay value. Even when you change up a level to be almost completely unrecognizable from its original incarnation, you still play it the same way: kill peons by mashing buttons until the final boss is dead.
Warriors Orochi is certainly not a bad game; it’s just a stale game. It’s a gameplay formula that we have seen before on an engine that is incredibly outdated. Anyone who has sunk hours of their life into a Dynasty Warriors game in the past will have a ton of fun with this game, especially when they unlock characters like Ryu Hayabusa. However, if you’ve slowly been getting bored with the Dynasty Warriors line, this game won’t do much to reinvigorate your interest. It’s an interesting diversion, and one that I don’t regret spending money on, but after all is said and done, it’s just the same old thing.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 2.8 Graphics
Unfortunately, the graphics are outdated enough that they just make the game look ugly. 3.7 Control
It’s hard to mess up a system that is basically built around button mashing. 3.6 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The voice work is cheesy and the music is forgettable though suitably epic in nature. 3.5 Play Value
The core experience is fun, but it gets repetitive far too quickly. 3.5 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend|
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid||2.5 – 2.9 = Average||3.5 – 3.9 = Good||4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy|
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor||3.0 – 3.4 = Fair||4.0 – 4.4 = Great||5.0 = The Best|